IOOF Symbols

Symbols, lodges, and degrees are often depicted in Odd Fellow fraternal artwork. In order to fully understand the purposes and principles of Odd Fellowship, instruction in ceremonial form is divided into degrees. These degrees are dramatic in form and aim to emulate and impart the principles of the fraternity: Friendship, Love, Truth, Faith, Hope, Charity and Universal Justice. Each degree consists of symbols that aim to teach a practical moral code and encourages members to live and act upon them; to enact a positive change upon the world. In the past, when most Odd Fellows lodges offered financial benefits for the sick and distressed members, such symbols, passwords and hand signs were used as proof of membership and to protect the lodge funds from impostors. These symbols, signs and passwords are carried up until the modern times as a tradition. The most widely encountered symbol of the IOOF – on signs and grave markers – is the three-link chain with the initials, ‘F’, ‘L’ and ‘T’ … one letter in each link which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth. Another symbol that you will often see is the all-seeing eye of God. The following lithographs are often seen hanging on the walls of lodge halls. They are not only beautiful but are informative as they tend to remind members of the degrees that they have received and their importance. It is possible to find this type of engraving on outside walls of buildings and grave markers today.

Below are some of the images that you may find in a lodge representing the IOOF: